Art is how you feel, who you are, and comes from the soul. —Marla Allison
Marla Allison is a member of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. Marla lives and makes art from her home studio where she finds comfort and inspiration by connecting with family, tradition, and being close to her community. Marla is a contemporary Native artist whose primary medium is painting.
Ms. Allison began her expression through art in her youth and gained formal education at the Institute of American Indian Arts(IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM where she obtained an Associates Degree in three-dimensional art. Since graduating from IAIA, Marla has exhibited artwork at the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market, the Santa Fe Indian Market, and the Smithsonian Native Art Market in New York. Permanent collections with Marla’s work are found in, The Heard Museum Permanent Collection (Phoenix, AZ), The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (Santa Fe, NM), The Red Cloud Indian School Collections (Pine Ridge, SD) and various private collections around the country and also Rome, Italy.
Recently Ms. Allison has received the Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native Woman’s Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research (S.A.R.) in Santa Fe, NM and finished her fellowship in June of 2010.
I am from Laguna Pueblo so I paint Laguna Pueblo. I am an artist who accepts the challenge of personal growth and innovation. I paint and create for Laguna history to be great and remembered. I paint because I was passed down a gift from my grandfathers; I paint to continue what they started. I began with simple works of loose brush strokes, slight symbols of pottery design, and shapes taught to me in my youth. I researched the artists that I found powerful and connected what they did with what I do. From study and admiration, I found that I had something all my own.
Most of my influence is from pottery design of Laguna Pueblo and Hopi Pueblo. I have also found much influence by the cubism of Pablo Picasso and squares of Paul Klee. I don’t stick with one certain style but it is all my own, that’s what makes it mine. With the use of pottery design I have painted landscapes that have design on them symbolizing where the clay that holds these designs comes from. I have painted mosaic paintings that are broken up squares and by taking these paintings apart with the image, the viewer is forced to visually put them back together as a way of putting themselves and their past into it in the process.
My art is what lets me connect the past to my future. My paintings are based on the contemporary, which borrows from the past. I paint so I remember where I came from. I paint so others can remember where I come from. I paint to be remembered.